Stella Maris Beach
Destination Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia.
Crying, laughing, flagging, and singing on Stella Maris Beach.
Thursday 27 July, 11.30 am.
At twelve-thirty, the bus stopped at its final destination. The bus ride took one hour. We walked in the direction of the beach. There was much less asphalt there, compared to Itapuã beach. Tourists and Salvadorians by car should park their vehicles on an unpaved parking lot. At that time, only a few cars were parked there. The beach in front of us appeared almost deserted, despite the sunny start of this Thursday. I suppose it was already twenty-five degrees, before noon. However, it is still winter time, time of winter holidays, and Salvadorians might have traveled to warmer beach locations north of Salvador.
A tear and a smile
We took off our jeans and shirts, and went on walking. The first thing to do was to find a beach pavilion with the best and cheapest offers. And again, Carol was our negotiator. She managed to have tough negotiations and obtain significant discounts. It is quite common in Brazil, that the owner will ‘cry’ and state that you are robbing him, and that you also need to ‘cry’ and convince him that you have not much to spend. ‘Crying’ together means that both parties need to sacrifice a bit, and – after more ‘cries and sobbings’ – the negotiations are ended with a big smile. Brazilian negotiating with a tear and a smile…
The tears had their desired effect. We now were able to enjoy our day on the beach: enjoy the sun, the beach, the water, and the reasonable prices for our drinks. Here, the beach was not white, but pale brown. It formed a nice contrast with the azure color of the water and the green color of the algae and seaweed that was found abundantly on reef rocks. Wonderful color combinations! The ocean was far from calm. There were no tiny waves, but the waves here were pounding the reefs and left their foam on the beach. The water sometimes was reaching a height of more than one meter. Therefore, tiny vanes were put along the beach. They were red and had the text ‘PERIGO’ in yellow. DANGER. There was not any Brazilian or foreign daredevil in the water. Everyone had understood the clear message.
(Still) waving palm trees
The pale brown beach was flanked by a narrow strip of palm trees. At certain locations, these palm trees were already cut down, in order to create space for the construction of houses, pousadas, and even hotels. According to Igor, the palm tree plantations are threatened by this uncontrolled expansion. It only will take some more years until all plantations in beach resorts are sacrificed, to host more tourists that will visit Stella Maris Beach.
That Thursday, it was Carol’s birthday. Her birthday was celebrated in Brazilian style. Her two best friends, who also belong to our big group, started to sing the birthday song, and we followed quickly. It is easy to imagine that Carol was becoming a bit embarrassed when she was in the center of our circle. The “Parabéns pra você” was sung twice, and followed bit another song, that is more like some joke. The meaning of this song is what would be the expectations for Carol in the near future. ‘O que será, O que será…’ I was curious what these friends were about to say. ‘Ela vai casar’ Aha, they expect her to get married. Nothing new, she will get married in a couple of years, as many will do… And then their hands moved to a certain direction, to my direction. Now it was my time to become a bit embarrassed: ‘Com o holandês’. Amai, that was to be expected. My presence with Carol also had become visible to others…
Passed the test?
At five pm, it was time to get our belongings and return to the pousada. There would be a churrasco (barbecue) for Carol’s birthday. Igor and three other friends left earlier to buy the ingredients for a salad, charcoal, meat, and drinks. Also Carol left earlier, her cousin was about to arrive. I stayed a bit longer with the rest of the group. I was asked to make pictures of them. And they took pictures of me. There was a Brazilian flag in front of a pavilion, and I was taken on the shoulders. I had to grab the flag, while they took a picture of me. A nice moment, grabbing the Brazilian flag, as a gringo, accompanied by Brazilian friends. Did I pass my integration test now?
By Adriano Antoine Robbeso